Feeling Minnesota

I just looked in the mirror/And things aren’t looking so good

I’m looking California/And feeling Minnesota…oh yeah  Outshined- Soundgarden

The Boston Bruins won their second consecutive road game Saturday afternoon with a 4-2 contest in St. Paul against the Minnesota Wild. The team’s 30th win of the season earned them sole possession of second place in the Atlantic Division, just four points out of first. The B’s had to get it done today without Patrice Bergeron, who missed the game with an undisclosed injury after fighting Blake Wheeler in Winnipeg Thursday.

Brad Marchand (27), David Krejci (13), Loui Eriksson (18) and Zdeno Chara (8) all scored for the B’s, and Jonas Gustavsson had a solid game in net with 33 saves to earn his tenth W of the season. Claude Julien earned his 500th win in the NHL and moved closer to Art Ross to take over the top spot in team history- six more victories ties him at 387.

On the other end of the spectrum the Wild dismissed head coach Mike Yeo after his team’s eighth consecutive loss. Yeo, you may recall, was the toast of the Twin Cities a year ago after his club made the playoffs with a great second-half run (of which Devan Dubnyk played a huge part), but pro sports is a results oriented business, so less than a year later, Yeo is out.

The bigger issue with the Wild is all of the passengers- they’re paying boatloads of money to veterans who simply aren’t producing/giving the the team any bang for the buck. If Bruins fans think their team has problems, they ought to take a close look at Minnesota’s woes. I don’t think a coaching change (John Torchetti will take the reins on an interim basis to finish out the year) is going to make much of a difference if the guys earning the big dough don’t start holding up their end of the bargain.

After Marchand tallied his fourth shorthanded tally of the year to take a 1-0 lead, the B’s gave up a bad goal in the second period on a fumbled exchange behind the net between Gustavsson and Kevan Miller, who heeled the puck over to Thomas Vanek at the left side. He pinballed a shot that squirted through the B’s goaltender for his 15th tally.

Krejci came right back moments later with a nice 2-on-1 rush that was started with a nifty play by Matt Beleskey in the neutral zone to take a hit to make the pass that launched the Czech Mates- Krejci and David Pastrnak– up the ice. The two did a give-and-go with Krejci instantly recognizing that Nino Niederreiter was sliding towards his own net and rapidly running out of an angle to shoot into the open side, he victimized Wild backup Darcy Kuemper (and Niederreiter) by banking the puck  off the crashing forward and over the goal line before he knocked the Minnesota net of its moorings.

Boston extended its lead to 3-1 when Eriksson took a pass from Ryan Spooner and broke away from the Wild defenders, sliding a backhander under Kemper. After Chara fired a 160-foot shot down the ice and into the empty net to make it 4-1, rookie Mike Reilly scored his first NHL goal and point with a late shot that beat Gustavsson but did nothing to alter Minnesota’s fate.

The B’s continue on their road swing Sunday afternoon where they take on the Detroit Red Wings in an important Atlantic Division contest. Tuukka Rask will be back in net for the B’s, and the fans will hope to get a shot in the arm from Bergeron as well.

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